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Spirit uprising: a poem

Acting in Faith  |  By Lucy Duncan, Dec 30, 2014
Black Lives Matter
Photo: AFSC / Lucy Duncan

Note: This is a poem I wrote for the New Year.  - Lucy

It rained all day on Christmas Eve this year

The sun slanted in the morning

I rode around the burial ground, circling

The mud clung to my tires

A brown leaf stuck in the spokes, ssshhh

The bare trees’ branches rested like bones

The damp earth waits

Holding sorrow, holding promise


A week ago I sat on the stairs in a church in West Philly

All the seats were taken

500 converge to mourn, to raise voices, to turn pain into r/evolution

Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Brandon Tate-Brown, Eric Garner                                

Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, Emmett Till

Didn’t they have dreams?

We utter their names as a prayer


Ghosts sit on the windowsill, watching

A street light streams through the stained glass

Illusion crumbles, myths exposed

The foundation cracks                                                                                


What will we stand on?


Miles away a three year old girl dances on the subway platform

One by one the people join her, remembering who they are

That this is what we are born for

We will keep walking, marching, praying

Holding sorrow, holding promise

We will remember the casualties of fear


We will stand on love to disrupt all that shackles joy    

About the Author

Lucy serves as Director of Friends Relations for AFSC. She blogs, organizes Quakers to work for justice, and has helped create AFSC's Sanctuary Everywhere stream of program work. She has been instrumental in the adaptation of Quaker social change ministry as a tool for reclaiming Spirit-guided social change work focused on companioning those most impacted by injustice. She has been a storyteller for 20 years and has worked with Quaker meetings on telling stories for racial justice and of spiritual experience.

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About Friends Relations

Lucy Duncan works with other AFSC staff to foster strong relationships between AFSC and Quakers.

Lucy is AFSC’s Director of Friends Relations. She has been a storyteller for 20 years and has worked with Quaker meetings on telling stories for racial justice and of spiritual experience. She attends Green Street Friends Meeting (PhYM) and lives with her son and partner in a Quaker cemetery.

Sophia is the Friends Relations Fellow this year who works closely with Lucy. She is a recent graduate of Guilford College where she majored in Sustainable Food Systems and Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies.